Trini Lopez, a singer and guitarist who performed a cover of the song “If I Had a Hammer” and also appeared in “The Dirty Dozen,” has died due to complications of COVID-19. He was 83.
Trinidad “Trini” Lopez III died on August 11, according to the Palm Springs Life Magazine, where he had been a resident since the 1960s.
Some of his other hits included “Lemon Tree,” “I’m Comin’ Home, Cindy” and “Sally Was a Good Old Girl.”
A documentary film called “My Name Is Lopez” had just been completed on Lopez’s life from filmmakers P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes, and the filmmakers had just shown a cut of the film to Lopez as recently as last week. The directors hope to premiere it in 2021.
Lopez’s debut album in 1963, “Trini Lopez at PJs,” contained a version of Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes’ “If I Had a Hammer,” and the song wound up going number one in 36 different countries and was awarded a gold record. He also recorded a version of “La Bamba” and the track “Green Green.”
As an actor, Lopez was one of the Dirty Dozen in the Robert Aldrich action film from 1967, but he got his film debut playing himself, making a cameo appearance in “Marriage on the Rocks” from 1965. And because of his international success as a pop star and guitarist, he was arguably a larger star than many of his “Dirty Dozen” co-stars, including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and Charles Bronson.
Lopez also has some cult status as a designer of two vintage Gibson guitars that have since become collectors’ items, the Gibson Trini Lopez Standard and the Gibson Trini Lopez Deluxe, which were in production from 1964 until 1971.
In all, Lopez scored 13 different singles that charted up through 1968, and in 1993 he was awarded a Golden Palm Star in his hometown of Palm Springs.